Friday, November 12, 2010

Arspective: Post Everton, IND-NZ 2nd test and Roddick's into the ATP finals

We, as Arsenal fans, have complained so many times that we deserved to win and yet lost the match. That was the case against Chelsea. Against New Castle we hit the woodwork three times and had about six or seven shots on target compared to NewCastle's one when they beat us at the Grove. But, against Wolves, for once, the story was the complete opposite. We won a game which, honestly I think, we were lucky to get three points.

Against Everton, we were much better defensively. Fabianski fails to convince me still. While he, admittedly, produced a match-winning performance against Wolves, in the Everton game he was very lucky when he flapped at a deep corner and the linesman adjudged that the ball had gone out when it had actually not. He flapped, missed and the ball bounced off him before he could do anything. Denilson and Djourou had particularly good games, while Nasri, Cesc, Song, Chamakh and Wilshere just continued from where they left and did what was expected of them. Arshavin continues to perform short of expectations. I do feel, however, that a 'magic' performance from him is not far away, when he will single-handedly win a game for us. come on Arsha!

Against Everton, we performed well over-all. Sagna rifled home at the 35 minute mark after Nasri had cut-in and unleashed a fierceful left-footed shot at Tim Howard. Arshavin reacted first to the lose ball and played it to Sagna. The Everton defence were either a little slow or did not expect Sagna to shoot. By the time Sagna let go, it was too let for Everton's defence and the American keeper had no chance. Fabregas doubled the lead about three minutes into the second half, when Denilson drove upfield, played to Cesc, who had a neat interchange (not exactly a one-two) with Chamakh before he let go into the bottom corner across Tim Howard. Then the Moroccan could have put the game to bed, but somehow pulled off an 'Adeb' and missed from inside the 6-yard box. Then Cahill pulled one back for Everton, but we hung on nervily for a well-deserved, HUGE, VITAL three points which sees us go past Man Utd and within two points of Chelsea, whose shock/meek surrender to Sunderland was music to our ears. It magnified their over-dependence on Essien, in whose absence they were, yet again, ordinary.

India, in the 2nd test, have seemingly taken control after a second consecutive century from Harbhajan. He seems to be following the Irfan Pathan pattern. Unfortunately, his bowling average is increasing along with his batting average. Nevertheless, his century was crucial, given the context of the game and helped India take control of the test. While draw seems to be a highly likely outcome, India do have a chance to force home the issue. Dhoni achieved the feat of taking the max. number of catches as keeper-captain in NZ's first innings. He went past Gerry Alexander of the West Indies. He once, famously stopped
Roy Gilchrist from bowling as the Jamaican was hurling beamers in Pakistan.
Three intersting facts about him from the wiki:
1) Gilchrist is considered to be one of only four bowlers ever, to have actually hit the sightscreen after first bounce on the pitch, on the full.
2)While playing in the Lancashire League (after being banned by the West Indies Cricket), he removed a stump from the playing arena and hit an opposition batsman in the head.
3) Gilchrist deliberately overstepped the bowling mark by six metres after being taunted by Kripal Singh of India and delivered a bouncer which hit the Sikh batsman in the head and dislodged his turban.

Anyway, so Mccullum's century sees NZ about 100 runs ahead with 6 wickets in hand. India may be without Zak again on the final day, who is nursing his groin injury.

Roddick, meanwhile has qualified into the top eight of the london ATP world tour finals to be held from Nov. 21 to 28. Wimbledon finalist, Thomas Berdych and the Spaniard Devid Ferrer also join Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Soderling and Murray who had all already qualified. This was after No.9 Verdasco lost to Mofils in the third round of the Paris open (which Soderling went on to win, beating Monfils in two sets) and Roddick beat Ernest Gulbis of Lativa.

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